Ravens Bernard Pollard calls Sean Payton's suspension 'outrageous'
The Ravens' Bernard Pollard can't believe the NFL suspended Sean Payton for a year and says he has no plans to change the way he plays despite the recent emphasis on player safety.
|Pollard: 'You suspend a man for a year and now you’re looking for players to suspend? This is outrageous.' (Getty Images)|
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is known for his physicality. He's the guy who blew up Tom Brady's knee in Week 1 of the 2008 season, sidelining the Patriots' quarterback for the year. He also tackled wide receiver Wes Welker when he suffered an ACL injury in 2009. And Pollard's takedown of Rob Gronkowski in the AFC Championship Game in January left the tight end with a high-ankle sprain that may have proved to be the difference in the Super Bowl.
But Pollard doesn't just terrorize New England Patriots players (although he's fine with that reputation). In 2010, then-Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez tore his PCL after Pollard hit him out of bounds. (Worth pointing out: you know who Gonzalez plays for now, right? Yep, the Pats.)
The former second-round pick of the Chiefs has also played for the Texans and Ravens, and he's been fined plenty for his actions. Not surprisingly, Pollard thinks fines are "killing the game." And in a recent appearance on KILT in Houston, he offered this thoughts on the Saints bounty scandal (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeals of those punished -- save Gregg Williams -- Thursday).
"You don't wanna tell somebody how to do their job, especially somebody in the head office," he said before doing just that (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "But it’s gotten way out of hand… You’re penalizing a coach for coming out of his pocket to say, 'If somebody hits this guy -- not hit him illegally, hit him -- and take him out’ … It’s just one of those things where nobody’s trying to be mean, but at the end of the day if you don’t have a good player, that is a edge you have to win, or to help your offense. So it’s gotten way out of hand."
Pollard also thinks that Payton's suspension is extensive. (No word on if he was sporting a "Free Sean Payton" t-shirt while he said this.)
"This is a game, this is a violent game," he said. "You can’t take this away. You suspend a man for a whole year? You suspend a man for a whole year and now you’re looking for players to suspend? This is outrageous. You’ve gotta be kidding me. [Goodell] said he was gonna take a dollar (during) the lockout, I guarantee you he didn’t take a dollar that year."
(Got some bad news for you, Bernard: according to the NFL's IRS forms, Goodell took in $11.2 million in the fiscal year that ended March 31. And he just got a raise that will pay him $20 million going forward.)
Pollard has meted out plenty of punishment in his career but he isn't concerned about bounties. "I don’t care if you do a bounty or not, because me -- the way I’m playing -- I’m going to hit you straight in the mouth."
As for the league's emphasis on player safety, Pollard doesn't have any plans to alter his style. "We will not change the way we play. No matter how many flags you throw, we're not changing the way we play the game of football."
Steelers linebacker James Harrison used to make similar statements. Six-figure fines and a one-game suspension later and he sounds very much like someone suddenly interested in following the league's new rules for protecting players.
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